A few months ago I decided to start incorporating yoga into my weekly exercise schedule. As a runner & cyclist I rarely get the chance to ‘slow it down’ and tight hamstrings and hip flexors were beginning to niggle more so than usual.
Yoga offers so many benefits, the most obvious being improved flexibility. In addition, it helps to improve core stabilisation, strengths bones & muscles through weight bearing exercises and develops mental focus and concentration. (There are a whole host of other benefits to yoga practice, but I don’t have the space to go into them).
Yoga is particularly beneficial for runners & cyclists. Running & cycling have very repetitive movements usually in one direction and in one plane of motion i.e. forward and backwards. Over time, this process can lead to imbalances in the muscles and joints leading to overuse injuries. Yoga is not just simple stretching, it works the muscles and joints through their full range of motion & activates smaller rarely used muscles that help to support the primary movers. The body must be worked through all three planes of motion in order to remain strong, balanced and healthy. Yoga works not just in the sagittal plane but, in the frontal and transverse planes as well, ensuring well-balanced development.
After a few sessions I have definitely started to feel less tightness in my legs and I’m able to do more of the yoga poses which in the beginning seemed impossible. I am now starting to incorporate some of the yoga moves into my regular stretching routine after an invigorating outdoor workout. Pigeon pose & Downward dog I salute you!!